13 December, 2018
‘Welcome to the maritime suburb’, says Devonport’s entrance sign – and for good reason! For one, it is the home of the Royal New Zealand Navy. You may well see naval uniforms around the village, and if you come to Devonport by ferry, you might see navy vessels moored at the HMNZ Philomel base.
Devonport is also home to two sailing clubs. Wakatere Boating Club, is where local kids learn to sail so well that some have become olympians. Local sailor Paul Snow-Hansen sailed in rio and London, and board sailor Tom Ashley won gold in Beijing. The Devonport Yacht Club, along the waterfront towards north Head, is one of the oldest in the country. Its most famous member was America’s Cup campaign leader Sir Peter Blake. The club offers meals on Friday nights.
At the base of Maungika/North Head lies Cheltenham beach, a long stretch of golden sand and calm water. This spot is a favourite among locals for swimming, walks and lazing in the sunshine. From here you have one of the best views of rangitoto that Devonport has to offer. At the North end of the beach is McHughs restaurant, which is over 100 years old and a popular spot for weddings. The restaurant offers buffet lunches on certain days of the week. From the end of Cheltenham Beach you can walk the stairs that lead to North Head. Once you get to the top, look behind you for a spectacular view back over the beach and Rangitoto.
The Waitemata waters around the Devonport peninsula are also popular with sea- swimmers. The local swim club runs two ocean swim events each year: the round North Head Swim in November to open the season, and the Cheltenham Swim in April to close it. Friendly sea-swimming groups leave narrow neck beach early most weekend mornings. If you are keen to have a more casual dip while visiting, you are spoilt for choice. Beaches extend from Stanley Bay to Devonport village, Torpedo Bay, Cheltenham and Narrow Neck. (Most beaches are tidal, but Narrow Neck offers swimming in all tides.)
We recommend putting your finger in the air first to see where the wind is coming from, then heading to a beach sheltered from either the prevailing South- Westerly or less common North- Easterly.
Best fishing spots
Devonport has three popular shing spots. From East to West: Torpedo Bay Wharf; the central Victoria Wharf; and Stanley Bay Wharf. Fishing gear can be purchased at Devonport Hammer Hardware, should the urge to fish hit you unexpectedly.
Best picnic spots
Another way to enjoy the sea is simply to look at it, maybe while having a picnic at one of our many vantage points. North Head and Mt Victoria are two of the best. You can find a quiet and windless spot on their slopes any day and time. nice spots can be found all along the waterfront as well, especially near the yacht club.
Wharf-jumping at Torpedo Bay and Stanley Bay is popular amongst teenagers, but banned at Devonport Wharf. Cheltenham and narrow neck are perfect for a morning coffee or lunch, with a view of Rangitoto, though both get a bit shady and cooler than expected in the evenings. Devonport has a maritime history going back to the 1300s, when the Tainui Waka is said to have landed at Torpedo Bay, an event commemorated by a stone memorial on the foreshore.